North County communities to kick off holiday season

Santa and Mrs. Claus hitch a ride on a lighted tractor during last year's parade. Gary DeVon/file photo
Santa and Mrs. Claus hitch a ride on a lighted tractor during last year’s parade. Gary DeVon/file photo

NORTH COUNTY – The weatherman is predicting warmer temperatures by this week’s end which promises better weather for the annual kick offs to the holiday season by the communities of Tonasket and Oroville.

For Tonasket that means Winterfest, which starts on Friday, Dec. 5 and carries over to Saturday and for Oroville it is the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 6.


The centerpiece of Tonasket’s Winterfest is the variety of activities that will take place Friday evening. The kids will be waiting for Santa’s arrival to Founders Day Park (next to the visitors’ center downtown) on a fire truck at 6 p.m. but there is plenty to do beforehand and on Saturday.

The Tonasket Library book sale, which actually begins on Thursday (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) also runs on Friday (9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.) and will also include a story time and holiday craft. Winners of the coloring contest that will be announced at 5:45 p.m.

Not to be confused with the library book sale is the Tonasket Elementary Scholastic Book Sale, which will be in full swing Thursday (8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.), Friday (4 p.m. to 8 p.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

There will also be face painting in the foyer of the City Hall/Library building and a gift fair at the Visitors Center.

At the park, Quill Hyde’s A Cavallo will light up the festivities and likely provide horse rides for anyone who want them (don’t know what A Cavallo is? You’ll have to see it to believe it.)

There will be plenty of little “warming fires” available to help hold off the chills. The Lions Club will be providing roasted chestnuts and the Tonasket Kiwanis will be giving away free hot chocolate. Christmas caroling will begin at 5:30 p.m. When Santa arrives half an hour later, he’ll light the tree and pose for photos with happy (and unhappy) children. Meanwhile fire truck rides will also be available for the kids.

And where would we be without the log cutting contest sponsored by the Tonasket Eagles?

Christmas Lighting Ceremony

The Oroville City Crew has put up the lighted poinsettia decoration, so now it’s time to light up the community Christmas tree at Centennial Park on Friday evening.

The festivities begin with a new tradition that started a few years back, the lighted Christmas Tractor Parade. The tractors line up about 5 p.m. and come down Main Street until they get to Centennial Park (between Sun Lakes Realty and the Old Peerless). This year Double “A” Logging, Oroville Transit and Lees-ure Lite have donated $200 toward cash prizes for the winners of the parade and Washington Tractor has provided a $25 gift certificate.

Then Santa and Mrs. Claus will travel from up north to Oroville to meet with the boys and girls and offer a picture opportunity. There will be free hot dogs, hot chocolate provided by Akins Harvest Foods available. Then the community Christmas tree, which was donated by Hughes Department Store, will be lit in the middle of the park. And, everyone is invited to join in the caroling which will be led by members of the Okanagan International Choir.

Food Drive

Don’t forget that the holidays can be a tough financial time for many families and the Oroville Food Bank will be having at food drive at both Atkins Harvest Foods and Frontier Foods on Saturday, Dec 6 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The food bank will be collecting food for Christmas and trucks will be set up at both stores. Come and donate if you can as the local food bank has gone from helping 120 plus families per week to sometimes over 200.

Bazaars and More

Also, in Tonasket, there is more going on than just the Friday night celebration.

Bazaars will be taking place throughout the Tonasket area. They include:

  • Tonasket Community Church (corner of 4th Street and Tonasket Avenue), Friday 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
  • Community Cultural Center of Tonasket (411 Western Ave.), Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
  • Crossroads Foursquare Church (415-A Whitcomb Ave.), Friday, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Civic League, which will be held at Tonasket Elementary School on Friday from 4:00-8:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There will also be a number of open houses – some of which may not be listed here, so keep your eyes open!

  • Tonasket Co-op (corner of 4th Street and Western Ave.) will have an open house on Friday and Saturday, including complimentary ginger snap and chocolate chip cookies. Beef and vegetarian chili will also be available for sale Friday evening.
  • Roy’s Pharmacy on Whitcomb Ave. will also have an open house on Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. The pharmacy counter will be closed but the gift store, featuring new gift lines, will be open.
  • Hidden Treasures (31574, Highway 97 just north of town) will host its annual open house on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Fire Fundraiser

Finally, Tonasket Eagles and Chamber of Commerce are also joining forces to put on a Saturday evening fundraiser for Carlton Complex fire victims and as a thank you for the firefighters. Dinner is at 5:30 p.m., with silent auction running from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Music will be provided by the Randy Battle Blues Band at 8 p.m. and The Outer Space Blues Band beginning at 10:30 p.m..